London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London’s ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world’s most important global cities and has been termed the world’s most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, innovative, sustainable, most investment-friendly, and most popular for work city in the world. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church; and the historic settlement in Greenwich where the Royal Observatory, Greenwich defines the Prime Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time.
History: Few recent discoveries and their radiocarbon dating indicated Bronze Age activity in the region. There are pieces of evidence of Celtic Briton settlement in this region prior to the Roman invasion. Londinium prospered as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia in 100. At its height in the 2nd century, Roman London had a population of around 60,000. Roman rule collapsed in the early 5th century and London ceased to be a capital. From around 500, an Anglo-Saxon settlement known as Lundenwic developed slightly west of the old Roman city. Then the Vikings established their rule in and around London. London then grew slowly until about 950, after which activity increased dramatically under the West Saxon king Alfred the Great. By the 11th century, London was beyond all comparison the largest town in England. Westminster Abbey, rebuilt in the Romanesque style by King Edward the Confessor, was one of the grandest churches in Europe. Winchester had previously been the capital of Anglo-Saxon England, but from this time on, London became the main forum for foreign traders and the base for defence in time of war.
After winning the Battle of Hastings, William, Duke of Normandy was crowned King of England in the newly completed Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. Then there were consequent phases of disasters in the form of Black Deaths in the mid-14th century, then came the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381 and followed by the expulsion of Jews from London by Edward I in 1290. London became the principal North Sea, port with migrants arriving from England and abroad. By the end of the Tudor period in 1603, London was still very compact. London was plagued by disease in the early 17th century, culminating in the Great Plague of 1665–1666, a fifth of the population. The Great Fire of London broke out in 1666 in Pudding Lane in the city and quickly swept through the wooden buildings. In 1762, George III acquired Buckingham House and it was enlarged over the next 75 years.
In 1817 the Royal Navy became the world leading war fleet, acting as a serious deterrent to potential economic adversaries of the United Kingdom. London was the world’s largest city from c.1831 to 1925. Primarily starting in the mid-1960s, London became a centre for the worldwide youth culture, exemplified by the Swinging London subculture. London took over as a major financial centre shortly after 1795 when the Dutch Republic collapsed before the Napoleonic armies. For many bankers established in Amsterdam (e.g. Hope, Baring), this was only time to move to London. The London financial elite was strengthened by a strong Jewish community from all over Europe capable of mastering the most sophisticated financial tools of the time. This unique concentration of talents accelerated the transition from the Commercial Revolution to the Industrial Revolution. By the end of the 19th century, Britain was the wealthiest of all nations, and London a leading financial centre. Still, as of 2016 London tops the world rankings on the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), and it ranked second in A.T. Kearney’s 2018 Global Cities Index.
*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)
Airport: There are eight airports in London namely, London Heathrow Airport, in Hillingdon (25 km from London City), London Gatwick Airport (45 km from London City), London Stansted Airport (62 km from city), London Luton Airport (55 km from city), London City Airport (14 km from city), London Southend Airport (67 km from city).
Rail: There are three types of railways for the passengers – Underground and DLR, Suburban and Inter-city and international. The London Underground commonly referred to as the Tube serves 270 stations in the City and South London Railway. The Docklands Light Railway (DLR), is a second, more local metro system using smaller and lighter tram-type vehicles that serve the Docklands, Greenwich and Lewisham.
There are more than 360 railway stations in the London Travelcard Zones on an extensive above-ground Suburban Railway Network. South London, particularly, has a high concentration of railways as it has fewer Underground lines.
Like suburban rail services, regional and inter-city trains depart from several termini around the city centre, linking London with the rest of Britain including Birmingham, Brighton, Reading, Bristol, Cardiff, Chester, Holyhead (for Dublin), Derby, Nottingham, Exeter, Sheffield, York, Southampton, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Cambridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1994 connected London directly to the continental rail network, allowing Eurostar services to begin. Since 2007, high-speed trains link St. Pancras International with Lille, Calais, Paris, Disneyland Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and other European tourist destinations via the High Speed 1 rail link and the Channel Tunnel.
Buses and Trams: London’s bus network is one of the largest in the world, running 24 hours a day. The distinctive red double-decker buses are an internationally recognised trademark of London transport along with black cabs. London has a modern tram network, known as Tramlink, centred on Croydon in South London. The network has 39 stops and four routes.
Ferry: From being the largest port in the world, the Port of London is now only the second-largest in the United Kingdom. London has frequent river boat services on the Thames known as Thames Clippers. These run-up to every 20 minutes between Embankment Pier and North Greenwich Pier. The Woolwich Ferry, with 2.5 million passengers every year, is a frequent service linking the North and South Circular Roads. Other operators run both commuter and tourist boat services in London.
Local: The iconic black London Taxi and Uber services are available along with other vehicle services to commute within the city. The inner ring road (around the city centre), the North and South Circular roads (in the suburbs), and the outer orbital motorway (the M25, outside the built-up area) encircle the city and are intersected by a number of busy radial routes—but very few motorways penetrate into inner London.
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